Cloud // Software as a Service
02:38 PM
50%, Cisco Team Up On Cloud Offering

Customers of will have access to Cisco's Unified Contact Center technologies for customer service. and Cisco announced Monday a hosted, Web-based customer service offering for small and midsized companies, called Customer Interaction Cloud. The service will be based on Cisco's Unified Contact Center technologies, and will be offered by as part of its Service 2 Cloud suite of hosted call-center software.

The deal calls for Cisco to make available its technologies for routing customer calls and other forms of contact that come in through various channels, such as telephone, the Web, and email, to companies that deploy's CRM to their customer service personnel.

"Through this offering, and Cisco are addressing a growing demand for cloud computing-based customer service solutions in the SMB market," the companies said in a press release.

Customer Interaction Cloud is designed for organizations with between 30 and 300 customer service reps, and will be offered on a monthly subscription basis starting in the first quarter of 2010. has put a lot of focus on its Service Cloud 2 customer service suite recently. It also announced Monday what it calls a "five-minute upgrade," meaning companies will have read-only access to their data in Service Cloud 2 during planned maintenance windows, except during a five-minute cut-over time.

This is possible because of its use of redundant servers. (When upgrades the service in one data center, companies will still be able to access their applications through one of's other mirrored data centers). Service Cloud 2 also got an upgrade last month to better integrate software it had acquired last year, Instranet, which customer service agents use to find answers for customers by tapping into documents called "knowledge articles." rewrote parts of the software, called Salesforce Knowledge, to run natively on its own cloud computing platform, and began selling it as a subscription.

InformationWeek and Dr. Dobb's have published an in-depth report on how Web application development is moving to online platforms. Download the report here (registration required).

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